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8 Advancing Uses of New Technology D uring the past half century, since the passage of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), which created the now-Title VI programs, there have been significant changes in information and communica- tion technologies (ICT). These changes have tremendous implications for reconsidering how best to realize the goals of the Title VI and Fulbright- Hays (Title VI/FH) programs. This chapter briefly reviews changes in these technologies themselves and then examines the ways in which Title VI/FH programs have used technology up to the present, in order to address the question of how well the programs are advancing the use of new technology in foreign language and area studies. Briefly, almost all areas of human endeavor have been deeply affected by changes in ICT. The ability to communicate in multiple media with people around the world at low cost, as well as the ability to look for and publish any information on a distributed global information network, have profound implications for research, education, and outreach activities that have an international focus, such as those included in the Title VI/FH programs. These new technologies have created a new context and a new set of tools for conducting research, teaching, and outreach activities in area studies and foreign language education. Below we discuss some of the more prominent changes in information and communication technologies, their implications for Title VI/FH programs, and the extent to which, based on the limited available evidence, the programs have adapted to or taken advantage of these developments. 171
172 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES ADVANCES IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES ICT have affected mass communication, the use of digital media, and the ease of publications, with implications for the Title VI/FH programs. Mass Communication Over the past 50 years, ICT have made person-to-person communica- tion across geographical and political borders a mass phenomenon, avail- able and affordable to people in almost every corner of the world. The first transatlantic telephone cable was built in 1956, two years before the NDEA, which drastically expanded telephone communication capacities between Europe and North America. Prior to that, telephone calls between England and the United States cost more than $200 per minute, and only about 2,000 phone calls could be placed each year. Today, with fiber optic lines and satellites, phone calls anywhere cost only cents, and the capacity is virtually unlimited. In 2006, there are over 2 billion mobile phone sub- scribers worldwide, which means over one-third of the worldâs population had access to a mobile phone. Telephone is of course not the only means of communication across distances. The Internet has made available extremely low cost computer-to-computer and computer-to-phone communication capabilities to over 1 billion Internet users in the world. Not only has communication technology become more available and affordable, but also it has become more powerful in terms of the quantity and quality of information it can transmit. Today, audio, video, text, and images can be easily transmitted over the Internet between computers. The upcoming third generation (3G) mobile phone technology enables multi- media communications on cell phones worldwide. It is no exaggeration to say that with todayâs technology one can communicate with people in any place in the world through video, images, text, and voice. Digital Revolution Another major change is the digital revolution brought about by com- puters. In the 1950s, the computer was still what its name suggested, a machine that did mathematical calculations. But today, the computer is a television, a telephone, a telegram machine, a piano, a typewriter, a music box, a library, a community center, and much more. Thanks to digitization, â Based on a 3-minute phone call which cost Â£9 in 1927, which would be around Â£360 in 2005 using the inflation calculator at http://eh.net/hmit/ppowerbp/. â The number of Internet users is based on information obtained at http://www.internet- worldstats.com/stats.htm.
ADVANCING USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGY 173 the computer has integrated many media into oneâenabling the mixing of contents that were once not mixable. While digitization enables the mixing of information, rapid develop- ment in storage technology has made it possible to distribute massive amounts of multimedia information to individuals at low cost. In 1956, the worldâs first random access hard disk was created. It weighed a full ton and would cost about $250,000 to lease it for a year, but it would hold only 5 megabytes of information. Today, the 1.8-inch drive inside a $299 iPod has a 40 gigabyte storage space. High-speed computer networks, low-cost massive storage, increasingly sophisticated search engines, and the digital format together enable the accumulation and sharing of an unprecedented amount of information among institutions and individuals. Googleâs attempt to digitize and make available millions of books to worldwide users is yet another example of global information gathering and sharing. Personalized Publishing and Broadcasting Perhaps the most fundamental change in ICT is the capability they afford individuals and organizations to publish and broadcast their ideas to a broader audience. Thanks to low-cost digital tools and easy access to the Internet, publishing and broadcasting are no longer controlled solely by corporations or governments; practically any individual or organization that wishes to publicize its ideas, images, or any other personal informa- tion can do so. Implications for Title VI/FH Programs The changes in ICT briefly described above have significant implica- tions for Title VI/FH programs. The first change, which has already affected Title VI/FH quite a bit, is the potential for expanded access to primary sources of information. For example, in the 1950s, it was almost impossible for most people in the United States to have access to a Chinese newspaper published in China on a regular basis. Today, hundreds of newspapers pub- lished in China are available on the Internet. Also on the Internet, anyone can watch the Nile TV live from Egypt, listen to CapitalFM broadcast live from Nairobi, Kenya, or follow online conversations among youth in India. Many organizations have made available on the Internet documents that may otherwise be difficult or expensive to obtain, such as historical documents, literary works, museum items, and library collections. â For a list of foreign radio and TV stations on the Internet, visit http://www.multilingual- books.com/online-radio.html.
174 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES As a result, information that used to require extensive international travel to obtain is now available at the fingertips of the ordinary citizen; documents that may have been accessible to few are now accessible to many; and data that would have required extensive observation and par- ticipation in foreign settings are now collectable from oneâs own computer. Perhaps even more significant is that these materials and documents can be represented, rearranged, and easily incorporated into education materials for students and the public. Another important implication of the technology revolution for Title VI/FH programs is expanded access to expertise and enhanced capacity for dissemination and education. In the 1950s, it would have been difficult if not impossible for the ordinary college student interested in studying Russian to have daily conversations with a Russian college student. It would have been similarly difficult to conduct interviews with people in villages in Thailand without being physically present. Communications with colleagues in foreign universities were conducted mostly by postal mailâwhich could be costly and even with the fastest airmail, could take days, if not weeks. Fifty years ago, when Title VI was put into place, the primary means of disseminating information was paper and physical meetings. But today, emailing, audio chatting, text messaging, and videoconferencing have be- come commonplace for cross-national communications. With inexpensive and easily set-up videoconferencing equipment, one can more easily bring experts in other countries into classrooms and offices without traveling. Online collaboration among researchers, international virtual conferences, and virtual courses from foreign universities have become increasingly com- mon practices in business and academia. Today, researchers and organiza- tions can instantly disseminate information and distribute documents to a broad audience located anywhere on the globe. This not only dramatically reduces costs but also reaches a broader audience in a much shorter time. Institutions can use this enhanced capacity to reach more students through online distance courses and seminars. Technology has also created new opportunities for foreign language instruction. For example, the National Science Foundation has funded a series of learning labs, some of which include foreign language instruction among their areas of focus (see, for example, Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center, visit http://www.learnlab.org/about.php). TITLE VI/FH PROGRAMS AND TECHNOLOGY Because limited information and no evaluations addressing the use of new technologies by Title VI/FH programs are available, the committee commissioned a review by Joyner and Suarez (2006). The review included
ADVANCING USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGY 175 projects aimed at developing new instructional materials, as discussed in Chapter 8, as there was significant overlap between that key area and the use of new technology. The researchers examined 111 projects using tech- nology, including all of those funded under Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA), which has use of technology as a specific part of its mandate. The main shortcoming in the committeeâs analysis is a lack of informa- tion about the quality of funded projects that use new technology, in terms of how widely they are being used, or how effective they are in achieving their goals. It is not known, for example, how well some of these projects are actually improving language instruction. One could argue that the use of technology itself is not what is most relevant to the field of international education; the more relevant issue is the appropriateness of the technology for its users and for the way in which it is being used. From that viewpoint, the question of interest would involve relating the technology to its users and useâinformation that is not available in any systematic way in grant applications and reports. Indeed, a paper on second language acquisition prepared for another recent National Academies study stated that, although use of new technology has made its way into language classrooms, âvery little research has been conducted from a cognitive perspective to determine how the method of delivery and context of learning affect the acquisition of [second language] skillsâ (Kroll, 2006). Therefore, this section focuses more on quantifying and describing technology-related projects funded by Title VI than on judging their effectiveness or how widely they are used. Kinds of Technology-Related Activities In the committeeâs analysis (Joyner and Suarez, 2006), projectsâ use of technology is described largely by illustration rather than by a strict categorization of projects and a quantitative report on the number in each category. One reason for this approach is that available information about the projects is sparse and sometimes dated. For example, if a project was funded five or six years ago, what was described as new or on the cutting edge at that time may well be commonplace in 2006, given the rate at which technology has been changing. Most if not all National Resource Centers (NRC), Language Resource Centers (LRC), and Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) have web pages with informa- tion about their work, often with links to other programs. However, this is now rather routine and would not necessarily count as âadvancing new technologiesâ unless the web pages were being used in a novel wayâand in- deed many appear to be (an online English-Urdu dictionary is one example; more are described below). But another problem is that, even if the project has evolved into more sophisticated or innovative techniques, the frequent
176 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES absence from the Evaluation of Exchange, Language, International and Area Studies (EELIAS) database of the granteesâ progress reports or final reports deprive the reader of knowledge about how it evolved. Also, while it might be useful to analyze the technology uses in terms of a typology, such as whether projects (1) developed new technological tools, (2) adapted existing tools, or (3) used existing technology, the level of detail for analyses such as that was generally not available. In broad terms, the examples of technology in Title VI/FH programs fall into two general groups: 1. Technology as a delivery tool, which addresses the problem of geographical distance or helps achieve maximum access to material. In this group, existing content material is brought to a wider audience through the use of technology, such as in the case of language or area courses that can be taken electronically. 2. Technology that serves to create new content or enhance it. This usually means digitization of material that was previously available only in hard copy or the creation of interactive online learning materials. Technology as a Delivery Tool One important use of technology as a delivery tool is to support out- reach, a required activity of the NRC Program (see Chapter 5). Some examples: â¢ Outreach World at the University of California, Los Angeles (http:// www.outreachworld.org), funded by International Research and Studies (IRS), presents itself as a clearinghouse for outreach activities undertaken by NRCs nationwide, which may be of use to foreign language and social studies teachers at the K-12 level. It helps to break down the distance bar- rier by making NRC outreach available to an audience that is not confined to the geographic area in which the NRC is located. Teachers can draw on Outreach World for resources on such topics as African geography, human migration, the diversity of cultures in Latin America, the effects of air pol- lution in Mexico City, and the history of Cairo, Egypt. Teachers can also communicate with one another to share experiences in teaching languages, study abroad, and other topics (see Chapter 5). â¢ A similar resource for those in business is CIBERWeb, housed at Michigan State University. The web page (http://ciberweb.msu.edu) brings together outreach activities for all CIBERs, organizing them by topic. It includes events that would be of interest to business representatives look- ing to export products or services, as well as business school faculty and students (see Chapter 10).
ADVANCING USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGY 177 â¢ The National Capital Language Resource Center (a consortium consisting of Georgetown University, George Washington University, and the Center for Applied Linguistics) has a web page (http://www.ncrlc.org) that serves as a resource for language teachers at the postsecondary level. It contains large amounts of material related to classroom teaching and assessments, as well as information on professional development and train- ing opportunities. It even houses an âadviceâ page, on which experienced teachers help novices with specific classroom issues. In the projects funded by programs other than NRCs, the content delivered by technology was most often courses or other distance learning activities. Box 8-1 illustrates several uses of technology as a delivery tool. Technology as a Content Enhancer The largest number of projects in the second category, in which technol- ogy is used to create, enhance, and then deliver content, is funded through TICFIA. This is consistent with its missionâto access, collect, preserve, and widely disseminate information from foreign sources. The projects identi- fied seek to develop foreign source materials for research use by scholars or for language instruction. Many projects collect primary documents in for- eign languages and other language learning materials, catalog and digitize them, and then make them available to researchers and language teachers through the Internet. Table 8-1 is a summary of recent TICFIA awards. IRS is the other major program identified that funded projects that use technology to enhance content. These projects often developed language and area instruction content and then used new technologies as a means of delivery and dissemination. Box 8-2 describes some IRS-funded projects that were specifically designed with new technology in mind as a means of delivery. CONCLUSIONS Rapid changes in ICT have made it possible for Title VI/FH programs to make great strides in the areas of distance learning, the digitization of foreign source materials, and enhancing the ability of people to communi- cate, whether between instructors and students, or K-12 teachers sharing information on best practices in their classrooms. New technologies have been put to imaginative use, such as for the creation of online dictionar- ies, lesson plans for use by teachers, and advice lines for novice language instructors. Because of a lack of information, the committee could not make judg- ments about the effectiveness of projects using new technologies, that is,
178 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES BOX 8-1 Illustrations of Technology as a Delivery Tool Florida Network for Global Studies As part of an NRC grant, the Florida Network for Global Studies at Florida Inter- national University will be expanded beyond the International Center of the Uni- versity of Florida (Gainesville) and the Center for Transnational and Comparative Studies of Florida International University (Miami) to other universities in the state of Florida system and to selected community colleges and secondary schools, employing the latest technology in web-based, virtual connectivity, and distance learning. Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES) Consortium Using an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant, REEES at the University of Iowa, in partnership with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Iowa State University and the Department of Mod- ern Languages at the University of Northern Iowa, has begun a pilot program of distance learning for REEES students at the three Iowa institutions. The project pools faculty expertise and student populations through a combination of In- ternet-based instructional delivery platforms, enriching offerings in these areas at all three campuses simultaneously. Based on specific institutional strengths, instructor expertise, and student demand, three languagesâCzech, Polish, and Serbian-Croatianâwere selected for initial concentration. Global E-Commerce Training for Business and Educators Using a Business and International Education grant, an e-commerce project at State Center Community College District in Fresno, California, was designed to train businesses on how to complete export transactions through their websites, establish an e-commerce Internet course, and disseminate project results through websites, listservs, and other means. Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, a Language Re- source Center (LRC) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, planned to use part of its LRC grant to create a professional development program and a web- based resource center for K-16 language teachers that provides instruction and practical tools for incorporating content-based language instruction into the class- room using technology. Another of the centerâs projects helps increase com- munication among teachers of the least commonly taught languages, through databases of where such languages are taught, relevant listservs, and a website of resources for teachers. SOURCE: Joyner and Suarez (2006).
ADVANCING USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGY 179 TABLE 8-1â Summary of Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access Awards, 2005 Institution Project Title and Description Michigan State South African Collaborative Film and Video Projectâcreate an online University searchable database of archival video on the history of South Africa. Yale University OACIS for the Middle East: On-Line Access to Consolidated Information on Serialsâmake Middle Eastern language resources widely available by creating a publicly accessible, continuously updated list of Middle East journals and serials, including those available in print, microform, and online. University of Sources of Authentic Materials for the Less Commonly Taught California, Languagesâdevelop an online tool for bringing authentic materials Los Angeles into the classroom for less commonly taught languages. University of Mining Hidden Gems: Building a Latin American Open Archives Portal California, for Scholarsâaddress the need for improved control of and access to Los Angeles Latin Americaâs âgrey literature,â the publications, working documents, and other materials produced by research institutes, nongovernmental organizations, and peripheral agencies produced in print and electronic formats. University of South Asian Information Access: A Federated Program to Expand the Chicago Resources for Understanding the Subcontinentâonline collection of digital resources that will encompass Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldive Islands Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Language materials selected from among the 27 modern literary languages of South Asia will be a special focus. University of Access to Russian Archivesâcreate a digital database of regional and Kansas national guides to the Russian archives. The project will digitize guides to the approximately 270 central and regional archives in Russia. University Access Indonesiaâidentify, collect, and collate information on of Southern Indonesia, with a focus on information that is not yet accessible in the California United States. University Japan Media Review Website on Developments in Japan in On- of Southern Line Journalismâsupport Japan Media Review (http://www. California japanmediareview.com), which monitors and collects relevant data from Japan related to electronic media and broadband, wireless, and Internet communications technology. University of Tibetan Digital Library Accessâonline archive and communication hub Virginia and for research and documentation in Tibetan and Himalayan studies. Cornell University consortium University of Portal to Asian Internet Resourcesâto support the Portal to Asian Wisconsin Internet Resources, which provides access to Internet resources from Asia in its vernacular languages. SOURCE: Data provided by U.S. Department of Education.
180 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES BOX 8-2 Illustrations of Technology as a Content Enhancer in Projects Funded by International Research and Studies Darvazah: A Door into Urdu North Carolina State University in this project will use emerging technologies and pedagogical principles derived from the field of computer-assisted language learn- ing to create a fully interactive elementary Urdu course. The course will employ the full range of multimedia capabilities of the Internet, integrating video, audio, and animation into graded lessons that emphasize performance and proficiency in the target language. Glossaries, grammar units, cultural concepts, and other learning tools will be hyperlinked to lesson movie texts. This project will result in the equivalent of a two-semester university class in Urdu that can serve as the basic text for formal classroom instruction, for supplemental tutorials and drills, or for self-directed learning. For the classroom environment, the materials will be designed to dovetail with course delivery platforms like WebCT. Uzbek-English/English-Uzbek Dictionary This Indiana University, Bloomington, project aims to produce a new, compre- hensive Uzbek-English/English-Uzbek dictionary that will contain at least 40,000 headwords in each of its Uzbek-English and English-Uzbek parts, making it the most comprehensive and useful Uzbek dictionary designed for English speakers to date. The effort makes extensive use of technology to convert and migrate words from an earlier dictionary to the new one and to conduct web searches to identify new words to be included. The two dictionaries produced by this project will eventually be published in both book and searchable CD-ROM format. Online Diagnostic Tests and Course Materials for Dialects of Arabic, Chinese, and Persian This San Diego State University project employs the computer-assisted screen- ing tool (CAST) to create assessments in Iraqi and Egyptian dialects of Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and Persian Farsi. It builds on a previous IRS project that developed CAST to create online diagnostic speaking assessments in Arabic and Spanish. CAST can assess the language skills of remotely located individuals (practicing and aspiring teachers, interpreters, international business employees, and government workers) and can help organizations evaluate large proficiency- based language programs. The objectives are to (1) elicit, online, a speech sample that establishes a baseline rating for an examinee; (2) serve as a reliable predictor of performance on an official oral proficiency instrument, and (3) provide positive feedback for proficiency-based teaching. Examinees will be directed to authentic text, video, and audio materials for advanced and superior levels, which will model the oral skills expected. SOURCE: Joyner and Suarez (2006).
ADVANCING USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGY 181 how well they are achieving their goals. The committeeâs analysis could only quantify, categorize, and describe the projects. So, for example, NRCs are making a great deal of outreach material available to K-12 teachers, but how often it is used or its usefulness in the classroom is not known. There is no doubt that some projects are making good use of new technology in creative ways. However, there is clear opportunity for ad- ditional innovation, particularly given the rapid changes in technology. Some avenues to pursue include virtual language or area centers, common technology platforms that can serve as the foundation for the teaching of a wide variety of languages, more online learning, global collaboration, and making better use of original foreign language source materials. These are discussed further in Chapter 12. C onclusion:â Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs are using available technologies, such as the Internet and distance learning, but they could do more to maximize the potential created by current technologies.